IN MENDIOLA: MILITANT GROUP BURNED EFFIGY OF P-NOY RIDING A BULLDOZER

MANILA, MARCH 4, 2011 (YAHOO NEWS) Militant group Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMPI) burned an effigy in Mendiola of President Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino riding a bulldozer.

Although the president has ordered a moratorium on all mining applications, KAMPI said nothing has been done about current mining operations which are allegedly displacing minorities and polluting the environment.

KAMPI is hoping that the anti-mining law of 1995 be amended, and for the president to suspend and review all mining operations.

Protesters also performed a ceremonial dance and banged gongs.

FROM MININGWEEKLY.COM

Govt lifts moratorium on mine rehab insurance guarantees By: Megan Wait 4th March 2011

The Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) has lifted the moratorium on the acceptance of insurance guarantees for mining rehabilitation.

In May 2009, the DMR ruled that insurance guarantees for mining rehabilitation would no longer be accepted, leaving mines to pay the money upfront or provide bank guarantees.

In the past two to three years, banks stalled or stopped issuing insurance guarantees as a result of the global financial crisis. The banks did not want this sort of exposure on their balance sheets and required a significant amount of collateral in issuing such guarantees, creating a tough financial environment for mining companies. “This ties up a lot of working capital for the mine,” says South African insurance company Guardrisk MD Herman Schoeman.

Mines also had the option of a prescribed trust, where mines put money in a DMR-approved trust. This is also very limiting to mining companies in terms of accessing and investing in their assets. “However, this is restrictive and liabilities in terms of rehabilitation might change in a year. If a mining company needs to source that money, it is extremely difficult to access it,” Schoeman adds.

Intense consultation took place between all stakeholders, including the department, insurers, the National Treasury, the Chamber of Mines, the Financial Services Board and the South African Insurance Association, which culminated in the DMR’s lifting of the moratorium at the end of January.

“Essentially, the status quo remains unchanged from what it was before the moratorium was imposed, except that the department has now specified only a limited few short-term insurance providers from which guarantees for liabilities relating to environmental rehabilitation will be accepted,” Schoeman says.

He adds that Guardrisk was surprised when the DMR put a moratorium on mining rehab- ilitation insurance, as the company was, on two occasions, individually authorised in writing by the DMR to issue such guarantees.

“At first, there was no real constructive consultation when the moratorium was issued. A number of large mining clients and prospective clients did not have the solutions avail- able, and this was a significant concern,” he concludes. Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu

EARLIER NEWS FROM SUNSTAR ONLINE

Aquino suspends processing of new mining permits FEBRUSRY 4, 2011

MANILA -- President Benigno Aquino III has ordered the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to suspend the processing of new applications for large-scale mining starting January.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda announced the President's order in the wake of calls for Aquino to impose temporary ban on mining subsequent to his order on logging moratorium.

Lacierda said the government has been attending to mining situation since early this year by starting to cleanse all pending and inactive mining claims until the end of the year.

"When (Environment) Secretary (Ramon) Paje assumed office. He promised that he will clean the process of the mining claims. There were hundreds of mining claims when he assumed office. Right now, he has cancelled already 500 mining claims. He is also in the process of reviewing 500 more," Lacierda said.

"The instruction right now from his office is not to accept new application of mining claims since January this year," he added.

The Palace official stressed that the Aquino administration recognizes the need to strictly implement the mining laws and regulations.

Environment Secretary Ramon Paje issued Department Memorandum Order 1 dated January 18 suspending the acceptance and processing of new mining applications by all regional offices of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).

According to Paje, mining applications cover all applications for exploration permit, mineral production sharing agreement, financial or technical assistance agreement, and industrial sand and gravel permit.

The environment chief said the order is consistent with the directive of the President.

He set two deadlines for MGB regional directors to sanitize their regions of all pending and inactive mining applications - first on February 20, 2011 for the first 50 percent of mining claims, and on December 2011 for the remaining 50 percent.

"We have to decide once and for all on what to do with all of these mining applications long pending in our regional offices, otherwise the public will continue to perceive us as inefficient and corrupt," he said.

On Thursday, President Aquino issued an order declaring moratorium on cutting and harvesting of timber in natural and residual forests following massive flooding in the provinces due to heavy rains.

"We are now moving towards enhancing our implementation of the use it or lose it policy where we will be cancelling not only mining applications that are unable to comply with the all the requirements set by the government but also mining tenements that have remained inactive and unproductive for a long time," the environment chief added.

MGB records show that there are currently 2,180 mining tenement applications that remain pending in various MGB regional offices for an average of 10 years or more.

"There are also other mining tenements that continue to remain inactive for the past 14 years," Paje said.

Mining tenements include mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA), exploration permit (EP) and financial and technical assistance agreement.

Exploration contracts that have already expired for five years or more and mining contracts not implemented in the three-year work program for two consecutive years are also subject to final action by the DENR, said Paje.

As part of the cleansing procedure, Paje said the department is strictly carrying out its so-called "three letter-notice policy" in exacting compliance with all the requirements from the applicants, with a maximum interval of 30 days between the letter notices.

The environment secretary added the directive is intended to deprive DENR personnel of any opportunity for corruption.

"I want to believe in the goodness of our personnel, in their commitment to serve our country and our people. But if the temptation is overwhelming, the possibility of some of them unable to resist the temptation is always there," Paje said. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)

PALACE APPOINTS 4 CA JUSTICES

By Edu Punay - Malacañang has appointed four new associate justices to the Court of Appeals (CA).

Appointed were regional trial court judges Victoria Isabel Paredes of Caloocan City, Abraham Borreta of Pasig City, Pamela Ann Maxino of Guagua in Pampanga, and Gabriel Ingles of Cebu City.

The Supreme Court received their appointment papers signed by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. last Wednesday.

Three seats in the CA remain vacant.

Paredes has received numerous awards for excellence in judicial work including the Outstanding Gender-Sensitive Judge of the Philippines and the Chief Justice Cayetano Arellano Award for outstanding regional trial court judge.

The appointees will take their oath before Chief Justice Renato Corona.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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